Community Board 10 Public Hearing and Vote on Westchester Avenue Cannabis Dispensary   

Community Board 10 Public Hearing and Vote on Westchester Avenue Cannabis Dispensary   

By Robert Press

Thursday night Community Board 10 held a Public Hearing to hear from the community around a proposed Adult-use retail Cannabis Dispensary Green Sun Inc. located at 3220 Westchester Avenue. The board held an Executive meeting at the board office a week before where the owners of Green Sun Inc. gave a presentation, and only community board members were able to ask questions. CB 10 Chair Joe Russo said that a public hearing would be held on July 26, 2023 to hear from members of the community before the full board would take a vote for or against the cannabis dispensary. 

Partners Elana and Dragar Ristovsky, Bofan Tiepeheustov, and Edwin Ripoll with help from Desmond Lewis of the Bronx Community Foundation presented why they were opening an Adult-use retail Cannabis Dispensary at 3220 Westchester Avenue (the former 7 – 11 site). They have been partners in restaurants in Harlem and Brooklyn, they have worked with various non profits since 2013, and they described that the state chose the borough for them, and they decided on the location which has a parking lot. The store will be open  from 10 AM to 8 PM, have two security guards one inside and the other outside, and an armored car would pick up the receipts. It was mentioned that one of the three partners owns a detail shop in the Bronx.

When member of the public spoke, one person said that they live across the street and clean up garbage that is left all over the place which he believes will increase with the Cannabis store. One woman said that weed stores are getting robbed, and how can you make sure older children won’t go into the store? One of the partners said that the Office of Cannabis Management will be tougher on the legal stores where product is so regulated that it is known from seed to finished product where it is going, and that a person will have to show proof of Identification at the door, and again at the time of purchase. 

A husband and wife said they moved to the area recently and were worried about their property value, children, and were against the store opening. Another resident said the quality of life is changing in the area and she too is against the store. A police officer living in the area of the cannabis store said that smoke shops are being robbed as are cell phone stores and he is against the store. Another resident who lives across the street with a five year old daughter was worried about children walking right past the Cannabis store. CB 10 Chair Joe Russo said that this was not another smoke shop but a Cannabis dispensary licensed by the state. Former CB 10 member Bob Bieder agreed with Chair Russo saying he sees no reason why CB 10 should deny this application. 

There were some more people in the negative while others were in the positive of having the Cannabis store in the area including one woman who uses the product to control her cancer. The last member of the public to peak was former city council candidate George Havranek, who said he had visited legal Cannabis stores in other states where they are stand alone stores, not in a business or community district where there are children. He said it would not have a positive influence on the community and he has not heard one word of what the Cannabis store is going to do for the affected community. He wanted to know which partner was involved in selling marijuana in the past and was arrested. Partner Edwin Ripoll said he was, but has changed his ways since then. 

Chair Russo closed the public hearing and asked if any board members had any questions. They included who will be on site all the time, the answer was at least one of the partners. Question, if you own restaurants in Harlem and Brooklyn why didn’t you open a Cannabis store there, answer, that was where we were assigned to, Bronx county. Question, how much staff will there be, answer, minimum of five at any given time out of an expected fifteen people on the payroll at a minimum age of 25. Question, how will this close the illegal smoke shops, answer, call 311 to report an illegal smoke shop, and if there is a legal Cannabis store the illegal smoke shops will be told to close. Statement, the Office of Cannabis Management prevented NYC from opting out of the Cannabis program, but let other municipalities opt out of the program. 

After all questions from board member were asked a resolution to recommend approval of the Cannabis Dispensary at the 3220 Westchester Avenue location was presented and seconded. A role call vote gave the following results. Eleven in favor, eight against, with one abstention, thus the resolution passed, and the meeting was adjourned. 



The owners of the Cannabis store at 3220 Westchester Avenue. (R – L) Bofan Tiepeheustov, Ewin Ripoll, Elana and Dragar Ristovky, and Desmond Lewis of the Bronx Community Foundation.
Mr. and Mrs. Washington who recently moved into the area where the Cannabis store will be, voiced their displeasure.


Former city council candidate George Havranek wanted to know which partner was involved in illegal marijuana sales in the past.
Elana and Dragar Ristovsky answer a question from a CB 10 member.


It was a close vote, but the resolution passed for the Cannabis dispensary eleven to eight with one abstention.
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